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John Heitinga joins Fulham

Everton defender John Heitinga has left the club to joined Fulham on a free transfer until the end of the season.

The Netherlands international, who was out of contract at Goodison Park in June, completed the deal on Friday, just over an hour before the transfer deadline.

Heitinga, who had made just five appearances for Everton this season, had been looking for a move in order to get regular first-team football and increase his chances of winning a place in his country’s World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old had looked set to join West Ham on a permanent deal in early January, but pulled out of the move, saying that it did not feel like the right move for his career.

Turkish champions Galatasaray were interested in a move for the defender, who was also linked with Serie A side Roma, but he has instead made the move to London.

Heitinga, who began his career at Ajax, arrived on Merseyside from Atletico Madrid for 6.2 million pounds in September 2009. He marked his final Everton appearance with a goal in last Saturday’s 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory at Stevenage.

Heitinga said that the chance to link up with fellow Dutchman Rene Meulensteen, Fulham's manager, was a major factor in his decision to go to Craven Cottage.

He told Fulham's website: “I’m really pleased to get the move completed and I’m looking forward to playing my first game. I think it’s a good move for myself and I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates. I’ve spoken already with Rene Meulensteen and I think it’s the right club for me.

“This is a club with a great history and I always enjoyed playing at Craven Cottage, I really like it as a stadium. It’s not one of the biggest but it’s got something special. I chose Fulham because the feeling was good and what was also important was the conversation between me and Rene. He knows exactly what he wants and I know exactly what I want. The main thing is to keep Fulham in the league and hopefully the boys will start with a win against Southampton.”

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